This week's recording is dominated by discussion of the trades the Suns haven't made, the All-Star game they didn't attend and the games they didn't lose (hooray for time off!). The coming week should be more exciting for the Suns since they are now back to participating in the league in some capacity.
Nothing more has been made of this rumor, so it may have already died on the vine.
I know that the Phoenix Suns are extremely averse to letting rumors fly of actual, live trade talk, so this may be no more than a one-way pipe dream. Yet this rumor appears heavily in favor of the Suns, despite Perkins having another year on his contract than Gortat while being a much inferior player at this point in their careers.
The Phoenix Suns have always liked rookie Jeremy Lamb, who was drafted one spot ahead of the Suns' #13 selection last June and later used by Houston (along with a guaranteed lottery pick and SG Kevin Martin) to acquire All-Star James Harden.
Lamb is buried on the bench of Finals contender, playing behind Thabo Sefolosha and Kevin Martin, so little is known of his actual NBA game at this point. But he did play well in summer league and preseason, so the promise is there.
Suns fans have begun to lose their love for the Polish Machine, Marcin Gortat, who has displayed inconsistent energy throughout the season to further exacerbate his offensive struggles with the loss of Steve Nash setting him up for easy scores.
But Gortat is one of only a handful of NBA players averaging at least 11 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks on the season and is only a season removed from averaging a double-double in his first season+ of starting in the NBA. Gortat's legs are fresher than his 28 years given that he only started playing basketball in his teens.
Yet Gortat's greatest long-term value to a team like the Thunder is that his contract is a bit cheaper and expires a full year earlier than Perkins, allowing the Thunder to better manage the dreaded luxury tax penalties that kick in soon.
To get the Suns to eat Perkins' contract, the Thunder would have to throw in assets, which Lamb and a future #1 pick would satisfy.
Such is the new world of the NBA. In droves, the "haves" are beginning to seek out teams with cap space, and are being forced to include assets to get another team to help them stay under the luxury tax threshold. The Thunder themselves were pioneers in this world, as Suns fans know all too well, so it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if the Suns got to reap some of those rewards right back.
The lowly Phoenix Suns started the night on a 12-0 run and never looked back, until Portland tapped them on the shoulder late. But Portland's comeback was a little too late, and the Suns finished out a big road win in Portland.
The Suns charged out of the gate, kept scoring and finished with 36 big points after one quarter. Considering the last home game I attended, where the Suns had only 34 points after THREE whole quarters, this game was very refreshing. Myers Leonard was abused again by Suns centers Marcin Gortat (6,2) and Jermaine O'Neal (3,2) and Goran Dragic showed how many assists he could rack up with a shooting team by getting 10 in the quarter to go along with 5 points.
The Suns did not stop there, scoring another 27 in the second quarter to finish with 63 at the half. Not only did the Suns score at will, they played strong defense, holding Portland to 47 points. The Suns had 7 second-quarter turnovers, but made up for it by outrebounding Portland 14-7 in the frame.
While Shannon Brown nursed a turned ankle and sore back, Wesley Johnson had a great second quarter with 12 points and 5 rebounds. he soared all over the court in this quarter, making Suns fans wonder where this aggressive guy was all season? Johnson played the last 14 minutes of the half, taking not only Brown's minutes but also Tucker's second quarter minutes as well.
In the third, Portland started hot and outscored the Suns 16-8 in the first six minutes on 6-8 shooting while the Suns shot 3-7 with two turnovers. The Suns righted the ship though, and soon Dragic had a career high in assists by the three-minute mark of the third quarter.
By the end of the third, your Slovenian Dragon had 16 assists, a career high with a quarter left to play. Can he get 20? Dragic also scored the ball, getting 14 points on 5-12 shooting. Damian Lillard kept the Blazers within striking distance with 19 points and 4 assists, but those numbers paled in comparison to Dragic. J.J. Hickson powered his way to 21 points and 13 rebounds after three quarters as well (9 and 7 in the third alone), helping the Blazers grab four offensive rebounds to keep the game closer than it could have been.
The Suns entered the 4th quarter with an 84-73 lead.
The bench unit kept the lead behind Jermaine O'Neal, who put together a heck of a game with 9 points and 13 rebounds. The Suns took a 90-74 lead early in the fourth before Portland began chipping heavily away, going on an 18-6 run even while the Suns brought back in their starters.
Shades of the earlier season loss in Portland were coming to light, where Portland overcame a deficit to beat the Suns by 3 when the Suns were trying to right their ship in December. That loss to Portland sparked 11 losses in 12 games, mostly on the road.
Portland roared back in the fourth while the Suns' once-fluid once stopped up with Dragic getting trapped and forced to the release the ball. Michael Beasley had one of his "off" games, shooting 3 for 9 with 3 fouls and a turnover. He was a ball-stopper, taking shots or committing fouls seemingly every time he touched it.
The Suns were able to pull out the win on the strength of some strong defense and a couple of crafty drives to the hoops by Gortat and Scola, despite big shots made by Portland. Just not enough of them.
The Phoenix Suns outrebounded Portland 51-36 - a feat unto itself.
The Suns shot 50% on the night, compared to Portland's 42%.
But Portland made 26-32 on free throws to keep it close, and the Suns had to ride Dragic's 14 points and 18 assists to the victory. O'Neal chipped in 9 points and 13 assists, and Wesley-freakin-Johnson had a HUGE 14 points and 8 rebounds.
The Suns broke a 7-game losing streak in Portland while the Blazers extended their season-long losing streak to 6 games.